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Senator Tim Johnson: Update

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South Dakota senior Senator Tim Johnson remains in an in-patient rehabilitation center in Washington, D.C. as he continues his recovery from the arteriovenous malformation that struck him late last year. Before falling ill, Johnson was already considered one of the few vulnerable Democratic Senators up for reelection in 2008, due to the demographics of his home state. Now, more than 4 months later, with his personal health improving each month, Johnson's political fate (and the fate of his important Democratic seat in the Senate) remains uncertain.

In his favor, Senator Johnson is extremely popular back home—with approval ratings frequently reaching 70 percent before being taken ill. However, South Dakota is a red state and should be able to field a strong candidate against Johnson.

Whether or not Johnson will be able to travel the state and campaign person-to-person is not yet clear. Johnson is trying to remain engaged as a Senator from his rehabilitation facility. For example, in late March 2007, Johnson approved the use of his proxy in a Senate Appropriations Committee mark-up in support of the Democratic-led emergency supplemental spending bill. But Johnson has obviously not been able to come to the Senate chamber to cast votes, including some very important (and close) votes on the Iraq war.

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Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stassen in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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